“How is it possible that my high school doesn’t have a computer science teacher?” asked James Moore, a recent graduate of Bell Middle School in Golden, Colorado. “I heard great things about the engineering-prep program at my high school, but there aren’t any computer science electives. I had really hoped to learn coding skills before starting college.”
Despite computer science continuing to be a high-growth, high-paying field, many schools still do not offer computer science electives. In an effort to influence which courses students take in high school, and which courses are offered, Colorado School of Mines has updated its recommended high school course list to include computer science electives, in addition to science and engineering electives.
Mines Computer Science students Jennifer Jacobs and Nhan Tran with graduate student Brandon Rodriquez.
“Being more literate in computer science is becoming increasingly critical to succeeding in both work and higher education,” said Computer Science Professor and Division Director Tracy Camp. “Our nation’s youth need to have the opportunity to learn how to code, as computing has become ubiquitous in our world. Coding also helps develop critical thinking skills.”
The gap caused by not including computer science-related electives in recommended high school course lists was identified by the Compute Colorado task force. This education and technology task force was formed by the Colorado Technology Association, the Colorado Education Initiative, the National Center for Women & Information Technology, and Oracle Academy with the goal of increasing the number and diversity of Colorado students who take computer science classes. Compute Colorado aims to prepare students for high-wage, high-demand jobs in technology.
“We believe that clear recommendations to include STEM electives, especially computer science electives, will not only encourage K-12 schools to continue to expand their STEM-related electives and students to take them, but will also help students be career-ready for the growing number of high-paying STEM jobs,” said Wendy Nkomo, CTA's chief development officer.
While students like James will have to rely on summer camp programs like Mines Exploring Tech in order to learn coding, the new Admissions recommendations will hopefully encourage more schools to offer all students the opportunity to learn to code.
Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | email@example.com
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-384-2622 | firstname.lastname@example.org